Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
Death of media magnat Amos Kyne is causing power struggle between his executives. In the meantime New York women become prey of a serial killer. Reporter Edward Mobley is in that circumstances faced with almost impossible missions: to catch the killer, to prevent the media empire from falling into the wrong hands and to save his romantic relationship from break-up. Written by
Dragan Antulov <email@example.com>
We Have To Do More Than Keep Media Giants From Growing Larger; They Were Already Too Big In 1956.
Media mogul Amos Kyne dies at the inception of a juicy item about a sex killer designated the Lipstick Killer. Amos orders his newspaper chief to hustle all out with that story. Amos's megacorp domain is comprised of a major newspaper, a television station, and a wire news service. It's bequeathed to his singular beneficiary, his pariah son Vincent Price, who hits the ground running to establish that he's not his father's imbecile offspring by devising a new top executive position to act as his man Friday and run the whole enterprise, and grants the candidacy to be among the city editor played with Thomas Mitchell's infectious presence, the head of the wire service played with George Sanders' Transatlantic adaptation of his unabashedly British persona, and the photo editor played with James Craig's old-fashioned American masculinity. The plotting Sanders and the factotum Mitchell egotistically vie for the job and struggle to crack the headline murder case, feeling that the one who solves that case will get the job. At the same time, Craig is having an affair with Walter's eye-popping wife Rhonda Fleming, and hopes to get the job through her seductive wiles. Pulitzer-winning reporter and the station's commentator, played by the always appealing laid-back Dana Andrews, is unwilling to get involved, but after all does and signs on to help his close friend Mitchell.
Fritz Lang's 22nd English-language film, which itself, interestingly, is a conglomeration of film noir, psychological thriller and sociopolitical drama, is a complete observation of the modern media. It applies to a media empire which merges newspapers, wire services, photography and television. All of these come under acute and generally cynical analysis in this film. The utter notion that so many different media are all amalgamated in one company scares this film's forever socially concerned director Fritz Lang, who sees the makings of fascistic tyranny here, something of which his own first-hand experience surely made him particularly wary.
The K symbol that is everywhere in While the City Sleeps as the insignia of a media empire. One recalls that in real life, the CBS eye was part of the first successful corporate logo and corporate identity crusade of any modern corporation. It is intriguing that Lang, with his eye consistently scanning for the cutting edge of communications, would give the media empire in his film such a syndicated characteristic. Real corporate media offices look significantly flashier than the dishwater headquarters of the media in Lang's film.
The media show up in other, more esoteric ways, as well. The bar is rife with photographs, ostensibly of celebrities who've stopped off at it. The photo-viewer maneuvered by Ida Lupino, who plays Sanders' star journalist with detached intensity, evinces Lang's strong interest in new media. Even the car chase at the end of the film involves a car knocking over a mailbox, part of the broadcasting framework of contemporary civilization.
Somehow the killer, who is psychologically troubled and cannot help himself, is treated in a more sensitive depiction than any of the cutthroat newspaper people. He is played by John Drew Barrymore in a vivacious and edgy performance. He is sporadically seen, but with intrigue as we almost always see him alone, and even once at his home with his mother, a wrenchingly sad scene. Even the story's apparently most upright character, Dana Andrews, utilizes his girlfriend to get what he wants, which is not necessarily worlds apart from what Craig's character does. The essence of the story is seen through the glass-walled newspaper offices and all the deceitful day-to-day goings-on there are disclosed, as Lang secures his most severe reckoning on the indiscriminately aggressive newspaper people who could so easily forfeit their dignity for control, fanfare and affluence.
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